Snavely Group – National Interstate Insurance Co. Headquarters

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Photo credit Kaczmar Architects

Snavely aims to have National Interstate Insurance Co.’s new headquarters completed in 2018.
By Alan Dorich

When constructing a building surrounded by other facilities, you need to be careful not to get in the way of people or become a safety risk to the area. Snavely Group is bringing this focus as it builds repeat client National Interstate Insurance Co.’s new world headquarters in Richfield, Ohio.

“Safety is always top of mind for us in the construction field, especially with the pedestrians being as close as they are. National Interstate has a culture of active employees who enjoy walking the grounds on their breaks,” Project Manager and Vice President of Field Operations Bill Porter declares. “It’s been challenging at times, but it’s gone extremely well.”

Snavely Group is serving as the general contractor on the project, which will stand four stories and cover 119,000 square feet when finished. Its basement level, he notes, will feature a parking garage along with meeting rooms, a fitness room, a weight room and locker rooms, along with storage and training facilities.

The first floor of the building will include a full lunchroom and cafeteria with outside patios for dining and an executive patio on the fourth floor that overlooks a scenic valley. Because the headquarters is being built on a rolling hill, “There is a nice patio area with a fire pit and places where you can spend time and meet as groups,” he says. Snavely Group box

Snavely Group started on the $25 million project in November 2016 and expects to have it finished by April 2018. This is not the company’s first project for National Interstate, Porter notes.

“They’ve been a great client and partner for us,” he says, explaining that the contractor built National Interstate’s original headquarters 20 years ago. Over the years, Snavely Group has completed additional work in their present facility along with another National Interstate building.

Stuck in the Middle

Snavely Group has found it challenging to work on the National Interstate campus, Porter admits. With the new headquarters’ location between two pre-existing buildings, “There’s a lot of interaction between the two,” he says.

“We have to accommodate a walkway for National Interstate employees to go from one building to the other,” Porter says. “The other challenge is that we’re on a hillside that is not easily accessible.”

The contractor copes with these challenges by maintaining clear lines of communication with National Interstate. Snavely Group also divided the site work into phases, which required a lot of coordination between the company and its client, he says.

The company also avoids accidents through safety and job meetings. “Safety coordinators also visit the site for our subcontractors, whether they be the steel manufacturer or the installer,” he says.

Helpful Partners

Snavely Group maintains strong relationships with its subcontractors as they build the new headquarters. Many, Porter notes, are firms that it has used in the past.

“That’s been helpful,” he says. “The steel package was developed using a design/assist approach where our steel fabricator collaborated with our engineering team to help design the building and some of the structure.”

Snavely Group also has a similar partnership with its glass and glazing contractor. Working together, “We were able to streamline things and it definitely helped our schedule,” Porter recalls.

Mack Industries also provided a retaining wall to the National Interstate project. “Snavely Group has worked with Mack Industries on numerous projects that each required complex retaining wall solutions,” Porter says.

Staying Strong

Based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Snavely Group specializes in pre- and post-construction services and real estate development. The company was founded in 1950 as a masonry contractor.

“We got into development and general contracting in the ’80s and we’ve been doing it ever since,” Porter says, noting that the company has a strong reputation in its industry. “Whenever there’s a commercial job that comes up in the Cleveland area or surrounding suburbs, Snavely is a company that is top of mind [and] has a legitimate chance of doing the project.”

Porter, who has been with Snavely Group for 30 years, says the company’s family atmosphere and extensive expertise have contributed to its longevity. “We bring combined experience and insight as both a developer and a general contractor, which is a big plus for us,” he says.

President Pete Snavely helps nurture the family feel by keeping himself accessible to employees. “You can get his ear when you need to and he can help you, comment and guide you if you need,” Porter says.

The Cleveland market, he notes, is keeping Snavely Group very busy. “Quite frankly, we’re enjoying it right now,” he says, noting that this keeps the company close to the region.

Porter predicts continued growth for Snavely Group, particularly in the development of its own properties. “That seems to be something that we’re doing a little bit more of, which is good,” he says. “That tells you that our market in Cleveland is very strong.”


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